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iRobot Roomba 980 Cleaning Robot Review

iRobot Roomba 980 Cleaning Robot Review

I absolutely HATE to clean! Seriously I loathe it, perhaps even more now since having children then I ever did when it was just my husband and I. The reason for that no doubt comes down to the fact that after all my hard work, SOMEONE will come in from school and spill a litre of milk on my nice clean floor, or squirt half a tube of toothpaste around the sink or fill up my recently emptied laundry baskets with more muddy, dirty clothes. It NEVER ends!

So when I was asked if I’d like to borrow a cleaning robot for a few weeks to see what I thought of it, as you can imagine I was ALL over that!

I’d like to say that it was love at first sight, when the iRobot Roomba 980 arrived at my door a week later, but the truth is I was a little skeptical. You see, many years ago (before kids) when robot vacuums were fairly new, I had convinced myself (and my husband) that it would be the answer to all my cleaning woes. We dropped in the region of $300 on that little bad boy, only to find that it was like having an annoying drunk relative in the house.  You know the one that you want to like, because you know you should, but they just keep bumping into stuff, yelling out for help because they are stuck, not doing what they promised to do and generally being pretty bloody annoying to be around. I know vacuums are supposed to suck, but that one sucked for all the wrong reasons. It felt like I’d purchased the cleaning equivalent of those fad exercise things people buy in the hope of getting slim, instead of just exercising. Needless to say, I went back to pushing my vacuum around instead.

So what difference could 12 years and an extra $1200 make? Would this cleaning robot change my mind?

The great thing was that it was really quick and easy to set up. All I needed to do was pull out the battery tab and the bin insert, plug the home base docking station into the wall, press that lovely big CLEAN button, and it was off!

Unlike the robot cleaner I’d once owned, the Roomba 980 didn’t smash and crash into walls and furniture. Of course it will still bump things, but I was amazed at how gently it did do. Not only that, but instead of careering off haphazardly in any direction it saw fit after touching against something, it actually hugged itself against the object e.g. chair leg, coffee  and clean around it as much as possible, before neatly continuing on its path. I know the whole point of a robot vacuum cleaner is that you can set it and forget it, but I was so fascinated by the clean lines it took, I sat and watched it. And so did my husband. And my children. In fact, my dog who runs a mile whenever my vacuum cleaner comes out usually, laid on the floor in her usual spot and let the iRobot gently nudge and clean around her. I shit you not! I wish I’d got that on camera!


 The reason the Roomba 980 is able to do this is due to clever technology which allows it to actually scan the environment around it and memorise distinct landmarks so that it can keep track of where it has already been. In this way it is able to clean the entire floor without backtracking over old ground, or entirely missing other floor space entirely. Cool huh?

The Roomba 980 also recognises different floor types and will automatically increase its power by x10 when moving from hard/tiles sucrose to carpeted areas and rugs. You can actually hear the difference as it moves across different surface areas as it works harder to get the dust and dirt from the carpet fibres.

You can set the Virtual Wall Barrier to make an invisible line or a circumference around it.


Another nifty feature of the Roomba 980 are the Dual Virtual Wall Barriers, which exactly as the name suggests, acts as a virtual wall that the Roomba won’t cross. So for example if you had a child in bed having a nap and you didn’t want the Roomba to pass down into that end of the house you can place the Virtual Wall Barrier on the ground. I found that they came in handy for placing down near our dogs food and water bowl to prevent Roomba bumping into them and knocking any contents when it was cleaning, but I have no doubt it could come in handy for a multitude of uses!

BUT…my favourite thing about the Roomba 980 is that I can control it via an app on my phone! (It is the first iRobot device that can be controlled via an iOS or Android app, but I don’t imagine it will be the last.)


The Roomba can be connected to your home wifi which allows you to control everything from the iRobot app on your phone. You can even set up a schedule so that it automatically comes on at certain times of the day. Now, I must say, that initially this made me a little uneasy.  I had visions of things that my offspring had left lying around being sucked up and causing issues for Roomba.  But it didn’t happen. Although I do always try to clear floor space, on the few occasions that it did encounter an electric cord or a piece of clothing, it either rolled over it or simply stopped and sent a message to my phone to say it was stuck and even showed me where in the house it was stuck!

Cleaning out the Roomba 980 was a breeze – which I love, because let’s face it, who wants to spend an hour vacuuming, only to make a huge mess again when you empty the vacuum! The bin cartridge slides out easily, and despite looking fairly small, actually packs way more in than you’d think. We’ve got a cat, a dog and a rabbit so we do need a vacuum cleaner that can pick up pet hair, and the Roomba didn’t disappoint!

VERDICT: With a price of $1499 you’d except the iRobot Roomba 980 to clean every inch of your floor space, and although I still find minimal hair and dust around the skirting boards against the wall, to be fair I usually have to use a different attachment on my regular vacuum to those hard to reach places, so I am REALLY impressed with it. Although my home is all on one level without any stairs or steps, those of you who do will be pleased to know that this amazing little robot cleaner won’t go tumbling down them as you might expect. Yes! It’s that smart!

Whilst there is plenty of life left in my vacuum cleaner yet (I hope), I would certainly consider purchasing an iRobot Roomba 980 if that was to change. In fact, we will all be very sorry to see it go. Particularly me!

You can find out more about the iRobot Roomba 980 and other models in the series on the iRobot website here. There is even an iRobot that mops the floor for you! I’m not even joking! #lifegoals

Do you have an iRobot cleaner? I’d love to hear what you think of it!





Disclosure: This is not a sponsored review. I loaned the iRobot Roomba 980 for 3 weeks so that I could write an honest review on it.  All thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own.



Jolene enjoys writing, sharing and connecting with other like-minded women online – it also gives her the perfect excuse to ignore Mount-Washmore until it threatens to bury her family in an avalanche of Skylander T-shirts and Frozen Pyjama pants. (No one ever knows where the matching top is!) Likes: Reading, cooking, sketching, dancing (preferably with a Sav Blanc in one hand), social media, and sitting down on a toilet seat that one of her children hasn’t dripped, splashed or sprayed on. Dislikes: Writing pretentious crap about herself in online bio’s and refereeing arguments amongst her offspring.

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